Job Application Rejection


There was a time in my life when I was fortunate enough to get an interview for every job I applied to. Okay, being entirely honest, I actually got selected and hired for all those jobs I applied to and was interviewed for. Hey, I thought applying for work was pretty straight forward. In retrospect, it’s a good thing that pattern didn’t last very long, because had things continued that way, I’d have made a very poor Employment Counsellor.

Over the course of my working life, I’ve applied to many jobs and not been successful. I’ve applied and heard nothing, received letters telling me the organizations have moved in different directions, been told in person and over the phone that I didn’t get jobs too. In my experience, the more I wanted a job I didn’t eventually get, the more it stung. The loss of an opportunity I was only somewhat motivated to get didn’t hurt near as much. Perhaps you’ve noticed something similar yourself?

Being rejected by an employer does damage to your self-image. It’s called your psyche; your self-perception. It’s not surprising that we should feel badly after being passed over for jobs we really want. Seeing a job ad for a position we could see ourselves doing is one thing, but once we get down to actually applying, we go from casual observer to active applicant. The more we invest in the application by conducting research, targeting our resume, writing a cover letter, having conversations with people – all in an effort to obtain the position, the more it stings when all that effort doesn’t produce the results we’d hoped for.

The solution is not what some would think; to only put in minimal effort when applying in order to minimize your losses. This is the logic I’ve heard some people use over the years. To avoid getting their hopes up and being extremely disappointed, they jus don’t get too excited or invest too much of themselves in any potential job application. Ironically, when these people do get rejected, while you think they’d be less affected than the person who goes all in on applying, they actually feel a similar level of frustration. Not only is this frustration similar in it’s impact, they are often left wondering if they’d have had a different result with some more effort on their part.

Now there’s been times in my life when I’ve been unemployed and had to go through the process of finding jobs to apply to, submitting my application, not getting hired and continuing my search with other opportunities. I have to say, I’ve never lost touch with that feeling of joyful relief that comes when you have an employer select you from the many applicants they’ve had. The degree of relief experienced seems very much related to the length of time away from employment. I have also felt immense gratitude for the jobs I’ve been hired to do after going without one for longer than I’d have liked. It’s the memory of these success following roller coaster periods of hopes and frustrations which now help me immensely in my role as an empathetic Employment Counsellor.

This is the way life goes for many people though isn’t it? The Employment Counsellor is better for having experienced the personal ups and downs of job searching, experiencing the blues personally often helps a songwriter make a connection with their music, etc.

Now, I wouldn’t want anyone to experience a prolonged job search, fraught with it’s financial, psychological and emotional hardships just so they could get a better understanding and appreciation for the process. Besides, there’s no guarantee that just going through a lengthy period of unemployment makes one more appreciative of the job they eventually land in. I’ve seen some extremely bitter people; changed negatively and intensely so because of their unemployment. Let me assure you I’ve no wish to see anyone come close to that experience.

Having this personal appreciation for being unemployed and through the course of my daily work seeing the potentially spirit crushing affect of the job search process on others, I urge you to get support. Believe me, there’s no sign of weakness in reaching out to a Job Coach, Mental Health Counsellor, Employment Specialist or Employment Counsellor. It’s not an exaggeration to say that partnering up with one or more of the above as you navigate your career exploration and job search might just save yourself. Unemployment has destroyed marriages, destroyed families, financially ruined people of their livelihoods, and broken many people’s spirits of optimism. Some have lost jobs and ended their lives too. Job loss is a serious business.

You see being isolated at a time when you’re experiencing the emotional ups and downs of being hopeful and then rejected, time and time again can stretch a person’s patience and is a genuine test of fortitude, character and emotional well-being. This isn’t a time to draw further into yourself as your normally sound judgement may become skewed. In short, you might not make good decisions when your under prolonged stress and desperate.

It doesn’t have to be me, but get yourself some support. This is a running theme of mine because I know first-hand just how important being supported is when you’re job searching. There’s so much at stake; and you my reader; yes you – the one reading this – you’re so worth it!

Hired: A Renewed Appreciation For Work


It’s not as easy for many people to get a job these days as it was in the past.

Headlines are full of company closures, layoffs,  line reductions, shifts being eliminated or company relocations. Despite all these stories however, there are always a number of people who quit anyway expecting to buck the trend and find their next job in short order.

It’s not hard to imagine why some people in job-hungry times still gamble with their financial independence and quit their jobs. Essentially, those who do think back to their personal history and make a decision to go job searching based on how they experienced the hunt for new employment in the past. They believe if they didn’t take too long to secure a new job in the past, it is unlikely they’ll have much of a problem getting one now in the present.

When the economic climate changes however, companies find it necessary to cut back on their workforce, take measures to reduce their expenditures and hold off on previously planned expansion initiatives. Were we talking of a single company or two in this situation, not much impact would be felt. Yet when you consider this is the story for many, the impact on job seekers as a whole makes finding work harder. The reality of the times has changed from what the job seeker previously experienced.

All of a sudden the individual who quit their job finds it  harder to find new job leads and get hired than in the past. Their unemployment stretches out longer, the pressure to find income rises and the prolonged unemployment is a new experience. Many don’t know how to respond effectively; be it budgeting or how technology has impacted the way job searching is done.

Often during an extended search for new employment, a job seeker will think back on the job they quit with some regret. In retrospect, they often feel that if they could do it again, they would have held on to that job while they looked for a new one instead of just quitting outright. At the time however, they never thought for a second that their inability to find their next job would take so long.

This change in attitude has one clear benefit; the appreciation for the next job if and when it does come around. This new-found appreciation in some makes them a better employee to work with, perhaps a little less confrontational, a bit more team-oriented and more inclined to act in  ways that will keep them employed – i.e.. their production levels rise.

Don’t think that I’m describing everyone in that previous paragraph. No there are many who don’t really change much once they are employed again. These folks will revert back as soon as they are hired, or just after their probation to the person they have always been; thinking and acting pretty much the same. The impact of their unemployment seems to make them bitter, jaded and hardened instead of appreciative. Now they  look out for number one – themselves; an employer drops to a distant number two.

I interact on a daily basis with a large population of the unemployed. Generally speaking, older job seekers are looking for that one break – that once last chance to demonstrate how appreciative they’ll be and how hard they’ll work. They see the window of opportunity closing quickly because they have a finite number of years to work left, and with a prolonged job search, that window is getting smaller.

Younger unemployed people on the other hand don’t feel the finite period of employment to the same degree. They may be in their 30’s and have another 30 years to go and believe they’ll have 4 or 5 more jobs so the pressure is felt less when talking of the sheer number of years remaining to work.

If you have ever been out of work for longer than you would have liked, you can probably mentally and emotionally re-visit that unemployed period relatively easily if you allow yourself to remember what it felt like. Many don’t want to recall those feelings for obvious reasons; it was a period of low self-esteem, struggle and increased frustration. Recalling the emotional and financial turmoil can however remind us of how appreciative we should be for the work we do now, and for the income and sense of purpose we have. This recall can also help us feel increased empathy for others who are experiencing now what we felt in the past.

Ask yourself however if you have slid somewhat back into a sense of entitlement; have you’ve abandoned that sense of appreciation for the job you have now in some respects because you’ve managed to hold on to this job for a period of time? Would  you go about your work with more enthusiasm, productively and appreciation than you currently do were you just recently hired? If the answer you give yourself is, ‘yes’, maybe you might consider working in such a way that you keep that previously held sense of appreciation front and center in your mind.

Appreciating our jobs comes when we realize it isn’t just the job we are appreciating but how we feel overall. Work provides income, stability, purpose, a daily routine, security and keeps us engaged with others among other benefits. Work combats isolation, desperation, low self-worth, dependency, stress and loss of purpose.

You may not love your job, but appreciate its benefits.